Aragon MotoGP Testing: Pedrosa Leads Day 1

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2012 Private Aragon MotoGP Testing

The first of two days in a private MotoGP test got underway Tuesday with optimal weather conditions at Aragon Motorland in Spain.

The unofficial private test, which included the Repsol Honda Team (Dani Pedroa and Casey Stoner’s substitute, Jonathan Rea), Yamaha Factory Racing (Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies), and LCR Honda (Stefan Bradl), allows the riders to further prep their respective machines for the final six rounds of the 2012 MotoGP Championship.

And the man who set the pace Tuesday was Pedrosa, who won at the last round in Brno over a week ago. The Spaniard, who trails Lorenzo by a mere 13 points heading into round 13 of 18 at San Marino Sept. 14-16, worked on suspension settings and electronics aboard the RC213V, Pedrosa searching for better rear traction and smoother power delivery.

When the first day of testing wrapped up, Pedrosa completed 35 laps with a best time of 1:47.983.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “In the morning we did some laps to get back into the rhythm and remember the lines on this track, then in the afternoon we really started to work on the bike set up. We worked a lot with the suspension trying to improve the rear grip especially and with the mapping and electronics to make the bike smoother.

“The track conditions will be better tomorrow, so the target is to stick with the same plan, try the same things and see if we can improve a little more with the suspension because the configuration today was not perfect. This is the last test of the season, so it’s important to take advantage of it for the upcoming races and see if we can get something else from the bike.”

As for Rea, the substitute for the injured Casey Stoner, the World Superbike rider was slowest of the five riders as he continued to familiarize himself with the MotoGP machinery. He was just under three seconds slower than Pedrosa, but continues to improve since his first outing on the RC213V at Brno.

Jonathan Rea (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Today I was just getting a good feeling between me and the machine because it still feels very strange. I had to work a lot on my brake style today; normally in Superbike I don’t use so much rear brake but here it seems that I have to learn to use it in every corner! Just concentrating on this and getting a better setting on the brakes and trying to do longer runs on the tires because for me it’s very different at the end.

“I feel comfortable on the bike, the riding position is good, but I just need to understand how the traction control is working, what happens when the tires drop down and be more comfortable with the setup”.

Lorenzo was second fastest, posting a 1:48.471 during Tuesday’s testing while piloting a 2013 YZR-M1 chassis. Lorenzo will return on the track Wednesday with additional parts to test.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “We tried the new chassis. So far we haven’t found a positive or a negative thing. We have to keep trying and do more laps to see. Tomorrow we are going to try the new engine. Maybe this will give us a little bit more power on the straight.

“This is our weaker point – we are loosing almost 5kmh to Dani. Dani is also very light, but for sure his engine is a little bit faster. But in general we are quite happy because we improved our lap time by half a second compared to the previous one a few months ago.”

Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies, who clocked a 1:48.647, focused on improving setup of his YZR-M1, and improve tire life.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “We have a lot of different settings with the bike. Mainly with the front-end, with the forks, to get me a little bit more comfortable with the hard braking. We’ve equaled our fastest lap time over here this morning quite easily. We have some more test parts for tomorrow.”

With much speculation about his next step in 2013, Spies revealed that people wouldn’t have to wait much longer for some news: “Everybody will know something this week.”

LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was given the opportunity to test a factory spec Honda RC213V for the day, as the German may be using the machine in the following season with his satellite outfit. He finished the day in fourth with a 1:49.570, just over a second and a half off Pedrosa’s time.

The five riders will be back on the Aragon circuit Wednesday for the final day of testing.

2012 Private Aragon MotoGP Testing Results, Day 1:
1. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 1:47.983
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha: 1:48.471
3. Ben Spies, Yamaha: 1:48.647
4. Stefan Bradl, Honda: 1:49.570
5. Jonathan Rea, Repsol Honda Team: 1:50.679